Waymo 360-degree video shows how autonomous vehicles work


Fresh on the heels of settling a contentious and expensive lawsuit with Uber, Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo is looking to get out there and educate the public on how its autonomous vehicles work.

In a blog post announcing that Waymo self-driving cars have racked up 5 million miles of driving experience on public roads, the company released a video called the Waymo 360-degree experience.

The video, which is shot in 360, shows how Waymo’s vehicles use lidar, radar, cameras and computer vision to not only see the world around them, but to predict the movement of objects nearby. In fact, the technology equipped in Waymo’s autonomous vehicles allows them to identify objects up to 300 yards away.

The video was shot during a ride around Phoenix, AZ, one of 25 cities in which Waymo’s self-driving cars have been tested on real-world scenarios.

But beyond the 5 million miles spent on real city streets, Waymo has also been testing its software through virtual simulations and on a private test track, clocking 2.7 billion miles driven in the virtual world in 2017. The company says that in one day, Waymo cars are driving as many miles as the average American drives in a year.

Exhaustive testing makes sense given that a single accident could severely set the industry back. Public trust is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, and Waymo wants to spin that exhaustive testing into a level of experience the public can trust.

The video is viewable on desktop, mobile, or on a VR headset.

Editor’s Note: An early version of this post said Waymo had driven 2.7 million miles in the virtual world. It has been corrected to reflect the 2.7 billion miles driven in the virtual world.


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